Though philately and letter writing have been fading in popularity due to the Internet, it is this very medium that is promoting both online

The burgeoning popularity of the Internet forced philately, the hobby of collecting stamps and studying postal history, take a back seat a few years ago. Even letter-writing became another victim of the Internet’s success story and has become near-obsolete an art now. However, owing to its multifarious inroads to different fields, the Internet is now serving as a significant platform for philatelists to promote their hobby as well as patrons of letter-writing to build up support for the art through online newsletters and blogs.

The Rainbow Stamp Club blog and newsletter was started by Jeevan Jyoti five years back with an aim to spread awareness about philately and also to create a common platform for philatelists where they can share their views, get information about new issues, exhibitions and the philatelic world. “The objective of Rainbow Stamp Club is to relate philately with every day life and to present it in such a way that a common person can understand the essence of stamp collecting,” says Ms. Jyoti, editor of the newsletter and a philatelist who started the blog from Kullu, Himachal Pradesh.

These days, people prefer e-mailing over writing letters because it is quick and free of cost — reducing the once popular youth activity to a lazy pastime for the elderly. “We are using the Internet as a medium because it has a great impact on the youth and we can interact with people across the world. The response to the blog activities is very encouraging and gives hope to all the philatelists who are struggling to keep the hobby alive,” shares Ms. Jyoti.

The members of this online club not only interact online but also send letters to each other and exchange postage stamps to enhance their collection.

There are many other websites like Stamps of India, Arpin Philately and American Philatelic Society which cater to amateur philately enthusiasts by providing basic information about philately, and also gives technical details about postal history and innovations to more serious philatelists.

What makes stamp collection a unique hobby is that stamps are ‘cultural ambassadors’ of a country and tell the history of that country in a form of story where we can clearly see the gradual development of the country and its people. Philately cultivates a meticulous and focused attention to detail along with increasing knowledge and aesthetic sense, according to Ms. Jyoti. It also helps one to make friends across territorial boundaries and age limits.

According to her, stamps represent various colours of life and that is why she calls it “Rainbow Philately”. Postage stamps are not only tokens of receipt of postage but are also mediums to commemorate, celebrate and promote national heritage and events.

“I am positive that the popularity of this internationally recognised hobby will grow with time. The Internet is already playing an imperative role in promoting the hobby and it has the potential to make philately a part of people’s life,” says Ms. Jyoti.